PREVIEW: Sunderland AFC vs Argyle
Ryan Lowe’s Pilgrims are unbeaten in 2021 so far, but that record will face the sternest of tests when the Greens make the long-haul trip to face Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday night.
Lee Johnson’s Black Cats are also yet to lose in the current calendar year, and Saturday’s 3-0 away win at AFC Wimbledon, courtesy of a Charlie Wyke hat-trick, leaves them on the fringes of the play-off places.
Argyle, meanwhile, made it three games without defeat on Saturday with a 1-1 home draw against Crewe Alexandra. Luke Jephcott’s 15th goal of the season from the penalty spot gave the Greens a well-deserved lead early in the game, but they were forced to settle for a point after the Alex’s second-half fightback.
No League One side has lost fewer games than the Wearsiders this campaign – with Sunderland tasting league defeat only three times this season. All three losses have come at home, against Portsmouth (1-3), Milton Keynes Dons (1-2), and, most recently, Wigan Athletic (0-1), on 5 December.
Incidentally, Sunderland have also drawn the highest number of games in the division (along with Shrewsbury Town), with nine of their 20 league fixtures ending level. The Black Cats have won two of their last five fixtures, drawing the other three. Argyle, meanwhile, have bounced back from their sticky patch admirably, losing only one of the last five league games, to consolidate in mid-table.
The Greens will be without midfielder Panutche Camara for the trip to the Stadium of Light, with the summer signing serving a one-match suspension for his two yellow cards in the draw against Crewe. Meanwhile, long-term absentee Gary Sawyer nears a return to fitness, but is not ready for a first-team return yet, and George Cooper misses out through a knee injury.
Sunderland, meanwhile, will be without forward options Lynden Gooch and Will Grigg for the game, while Danny Graham is also a doubt. Left-back Denver Hume, right-back Conor McLaughlin, and central defender Arbenit Xhemajli are all unlikely to feature, but energetic midfielder Luke O’Nien returned to the bench at the weekend following a shoulder injury and may be an option from the bench.
ARGYLE AWAY TO SUNDERLAND IN THE EFL
The record: P 13 W 2 D 1 L 10 F 11 A 31
The first time: Division Two, 12 March, 1960. Sunderland 4 Argyle 0
In what turned out to be Jack Rowley’s last game in charge of Argyle, the Greens were thrashed 4-0 at Roker Park.
The result meant that the Pilgrims had picked up just six points in 12 league matches since Christmas Day, with only a solitary win to show for their efforts. It left them one place outside of the relegation zone, just four points clear of Bristol City who had two matches in hand.
The last time: Sky Bet League One, 2 March, 2019. Sunderland 2 Argyle 0
Lee Cattermole gave the Black Cats the lead on 32 minutes against Derek Adams’ Greens, before George Honeyman sealed the points on 87 minutes.
Biggest win: Coca-Cola Championship, 12 August, 2006. Sunderland 2 Argyle 3.
In only Ian Holloway’s third competitive game in charge of Argyle, his team won 3-2 at the Stadium of Light.
Daryl Murphy put the hosts in front in the opening minute, but David Norris equalised on eight minutes. Barry Hayles put us 2-1 ahead before the break. Stephen Elliot equalised for the Black Cats before substitute Nick Chadwick grabbed our late winner.
Goalkeeper Luke McCormick played in goal for the Greens that day, while club captain Gary Sawyer was an unused substitute.
Most goals in a single game: Six, in a 5-1 win for Sunderland over Bobby Williamson’s Greens on Tuesday, March 15th, 2005 in the Championship. Scott Taylor scored our consolation.
Tuesday's game kicks off at 7pm, and is available to stream, worldwide on iFollow Argyle. Click here to purchase your pass.